There's a Killer in Here | Crooked Media
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April 16, 2024
Pod Save The People
There's a Killer in Here

In This Episode

Iran launches attack on Israel, Louisiana Supreme Court vindicates pedophilic priests, Tennessee K-12 teachers allowed to carry handguns, and a reflection on the lives of the late OJ Simpson, Mister Cee, and Faith Ringgold.


Iran launches retaliatory attack on Israel with hundreds of drones, missiles

Louisiana High Court: Priests Have a “Property Right” Not to Be Sued For Sexual Abuse

Tennessee teachers would be allowed to carry concealed handguns at K-12 schools under a bill just passed by the state Senate

Faith Ringgold, quilt and visual artist, dies at 93

Mister Cee, Pioneering Brooklyn D.J., Dies at 57

OJ Simpson, former football star acquitted of murder, dies at 76






DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this is DeRay, and welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode it’s me, De’Ara, Kaya, and Myles talking about all the news that you didn’t know from the past week with regard to race, justice and equity. The news that we should all be talking about. Here we go. [music break] 




De’Ara Balenger: Family, family. Welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People. I’m De’Ara Balenger. You can find me on Instagram at @dearabalenger.


Myles E. Johnson: I’m Myles E. Johnson. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram and TikTok at @pharaohrapture 


Kaya Henderson: I’m Kaya Henderson. You can find me on Twitter at @HendersonKaya.


DeRay Mckesson: And this is DeRay at @deray on Twitter. 


De’Ara Balenger: I don’t know what we came to talk about today, but I’m talking about my brother Leonard L. Long the third, who just got his master’s in international–


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 


De’Ara Balenger: –business from Pepperdine University. 


DeRay Mckesson: Come on Leonard, woop woop. 


De’Ara Balenger: Come on Leonard. Got to be a businessman, he a business man now.


DeRay Mckesson: Oh he got [?]. And I saw it, it was I saw the program. He’s only one of a handful of people who got the MBA in international stuff. 


De’Ara Balenger: International business. 


DeRay Mckesson: Yes. 


De’Ara Balenger: International. 


Kaya Henderson: We global baby, global. 


De’Ara Balenger: He he better stay home. 


DeRay Mckesson: Shout out Leonard. 


De’Ara Balenger: He better stay near–


DeRay Mckesson: Friend of the pod. 


De’Ara Balenger: –me. For time–


DeRay Mckesson: Family of the pod.


De’Ara Balenger: The time being. Yeah and– [laughter]


De’Ara Balenger: What were we going to kick off y’all with? We’re going to kick off with this really insane story about the translator and the man that got the baseball player that got all this money. You know I, y’all got to piece it together for me because I’m so I’m still confused about what’s going on here. 


Kaya Henderson: DeRay do you want to [?] us off? Before I give my before I give my expert sports opinion.


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah so Shohei– 


De’Ara Balenger: Before we hear from our our expert. 


DeRay Mckesson: Shohei Ohtani who has the highest contract in American sports. Uh. His translator was stealing from him. So Ohtani doesn’t speak English, so his translator does essentially all of the or his interpreter does all of the work for him that requires him to communicate with people. And he stole $16 million. He was one of Ohtani’s close friends, and he was his intermediary not only between the sports world and reporters and stuff, but also between the banks and financial advisors in America, because he didn’t speak English. Um. And he was placing bets and he was calling the bank, moving money around like it just was not good. So the federal government got involved. Um. And they looked at his betting account and they found 19,000 bets between December 2021 and January 2024, a clip of nearly 25 a day. And he bet in between $10 and $160,000. And his net losses were a whopping $40 million. Importantly, he did not bet on baseball. That’s like, I guess, the saving grace. [laugh]


Kaya Henderson: Why? Why is that important? I mean, listen–


DeRay Mckesson: Well. 


Kaya Henderson: You losing $40 million, it don’t matter what you betting on.


DeRay Mckesson: I mean, I guess, but whew. But he has a $700 million contract, Ohtani. So, he is going to be okay. He can still pay for every expense that he has. And mister interpreter guy is definitely going to prison. 


Kaya Henderson: Y’all. I don’t mean to be an ugly American, but  [cough] it is sort of astounding to me that a person who does not speak English has the largest sports contract in history. Like in this week, $700 million. We’ve never given that much money to anybody else. And this dude’s interpreter is able to walk away with 40 million because the cat– like, literally this is, I don’t know, could this happen in another country? That, like, I don’t speak Japanese, but I go to Japan and I’m a tennis phenom or a whatever phenom. And I, but, like, I don’t the whole thing just feels super weird to me. And the dude was making 25 bets a day. When did he have time to translate anything? He was busy betting. But here we are. And he’s going to jail. It’s kind of crazy. 


De’Ara Balenger: I just don’t understand, you get that kind of money, don’t they give you a financ– don’t they give you some help around it? It’s just like–


Kaya Henderson: He’s the help.


Myles E. Johnson: He was the help. 


Kaya Henderson: He’s the help. 


De’Ara Balenger: But he’s a translator, he’s not like a wealth management advisor. 


Kaya Henderson: When the only person who you can communicate with is this dude. 


De’Ara Balenger: This man, this and also this baseball player don’t have any cousins or something? What is going on? You know, if one of us had that kind of money, the house would be full of people. [?] what’s that translator saying? 


Myles E. Johnson: I don’t I don’t agree with that. I do not agree. I do not agree with that. I do not agree with that. I would be I would mysteriously just always be at a beach. 


De’Ara Balenger: You’d be calling the translator and be like, where is my–


Myles E. Johnson: Don’t ask me for nothing and don’t tell nobody. 


Kaya Henderson: Meanwhile, while you are on the beach, we’re about to go into World War three. I mean, no, you know, don’t be alarmed. But Iran fired on Israel, over 300 drones and what not. The United States, who right now is supposed to be trying to, you know, yank Israel up by the collar, was like, oh yeah, we’ll come to your aid and shot down the drones and are now saying um yeah, that’s it. It’s done. But I’m sorry, I don’t think that that’s how war works, right? You fire on me, I just chill? What do we think is going to happen? 


De’Ara Balenger: This is so scary. I don’t even know. I don’t like, intellectually like before I could even wrap my my mind around it. My body’s just, I don’t know. 


DeRay Mckesson: You know, I think that they thought nobody knows where Palestine is. Nobody is going to pay attention when this whole when it first started. And I think that they were wholly unprepared for the backlash around what has happened in the West Bank and Gaza. So that is like one thing. 


Kaya Henderson: Wait, when you say they, you mean Israel?


DeRay Mckesson: No, I think the American politicians, I think the American politicians–


Kaya Henderson: Ah ok. 


DeRay Mckesson: –were like, nobody knows where Palestine is. Just like if you ask people– 


Kaya Henderson: This is a little something.


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah I mean yeah. Like where is Iraq still today? You ask people to point to Iraq on a map, don’t nobody know, right? 


Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 


DeRay Mckesson: So I think that I and you know, with the, with everything that happened with Iraq, you know people were very pe– there was a, the activists were upset about it. But I think it would be untrue to say the country was upset about a lot of that stuff until a little bit later, but they just overplayed, like I think that they were just unprepared for this backlash. So Israel is like, you know, it’s at first it was like, how dare you say they bomb a hospital? Then it’s like they bombed a lot of hospitals. They done killed um Jos– chef, Jose’s–


Kaya Henderson: José Andrés. 


DeRay Mckesson: –food peope. They done killed– 


Kaya Henderson: And we and a lot of other people besides them. Those are just the ones that– 


DeRay Mckesson: A lot off other people. 


Kaya Henderson: –we hear about. 


DeRay Mckesson: They’ve killed the UN people. They I mean. 


Kaya Henderson: Yes. 


DeRay Mckesson: It has been so wild to see. And then they go and destroy one of the embassies and you’re like, it really is like, at what point do we expect–


Kaya Henderson: Right. What did you think was going to happen? 


DeRay Mckesson: And yes, somebody is going to respond at some point like that is just the, not everybody is going to be afraid of America forever. And that is sort of what happened. And I it’s interesting even to see people try to contort themselves to defend Israel. And it’s like, I’m not even saying you know, we need to live in a world without war. Because let’s be clear, all the people who die in these wars are not the people who made the decisions that are causing, it’s it’s regular–


Myles E. Johnson: Right. 


DeRay Mckesson: –people who are dying. So like, I’m team no war, if not only because the people who are actually engaged in conflict are not the ones who put their lives on the line. But at a point, it’s like Israel is just operating with with impunity here. And somebody will respond. 


De’Ara Balenger: Because what’s been happening online. Ugh. Y’all really just everybody needs to [sigh] find some type of convening space to go to, to actually speak in person because the online stuff is driving me crazy. But what I’ve been seeing is that it’s perceived by Jewish people, that everyone now is saying, yay, go Iran. This is this is you are you are coming to the aid of Gaza. We all know Iran and what Iran has been doing in terms of raping and pillaging and like actually with really moving with real impunity for a very long time. And there’s been a whole movement led primarily by women to try to get as much exposure and visibility on what’s going on in Iran, because it is nutso. So I think it’s in another one of those cases where a bunch of things can be true at the same time, right? Like Israel needs to stop. But, you know, Israel was going to start a ground offensive this week in Rafah. And now that has been postponed the latest I read. Um. But it’s like you bombed the place to smithereens and then you have a ground offensive, what do we what do we do? What are we doing here? What’s what what’s happening? So it’s just it’s it’s an interesting thing that obviously that we will continue to keep an eye on, but it’s just the politics and the and the perceptions and the narratives around what’s happening in this part of the world are so fealed [laugh] so filled with feeling and sentiment and trauma that I think oftentimes it’s hard to have, like a constructive and practical conversation around what we need to be raising up in the region. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah, I just wish and I know like when it comes to politics, wishing is kind of like naive and immature. I just wish the ceasefire requests were taken more seriously when they were happening. I wish that um when people were saying things around defense of Palestinians that was actually listened to. And now we’re in a position that’s even scarier than before, you know. And that’s just even more electric than um than before. And which is just which is just really, really scary. And I think, you know, my first mind is I want to see us get through this, but I hope that in the future. Me being me being optimistic saying the future, but in the future, but in the future, I hope that people, specifically politicians, take seriously global politics like we’re in a totally new era. To DeRay’s point, we’re in an era where everybody can see everything. If somebody has a niche or um segmented interest or what’s going on in politics. They can um communicate that on the internet and let other people know who don’t know about it, people are maybe [?] be activated. So this kind of era of like sneaking behind, behind your back politics of doing stuff is just going is just is it’s just totally done for. And I think that when people were calling for ceasefires, it was just seen as like, oh, these group of, you know, anti-Zionist people um calling for a ceasefire. But it seems like now it’s going to prove itself to even be even more beneficial. Like, it’s not what like the ceasefire was, was in a lot of people’s minds just about helping and saving the Palestinian people from being from this genocide. And now it’s going to show that there’s even there was even more reasons politically that this ceasefire could have really um benefited everybody involved um globally, you know. 


Kaya Henderson: Well, and I mean, if you’ve been following global politics. Iran has nuclear weapons. Iran has increasingly um built their capacity in the last few years um to amass and retain nuclear arms. And so this is not just a little like we started with the drones, but we have no idea what the real impact of this war could be if Iran goes full throttle. And I think, you know, you know, DeRay you were talking earlier about how people don’t know where things are on the map. And I think the reason why there has been a unified response to Israel is that it sits in the middle of an Arab world, and we can’t, I don’t like for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Right? Is what the law of gravity or some physics thing that I don’t know about says. And so I think it is naive of us to think that people can act without others responding and bringing to bear whatever capacity they have. And so for me, this is really, really scary because Israel acted, bombed the Iranian embassy, Iran responded and sent over 300 drones, and the U.S. knocked those drones down and averted potential disaster. But I yeah, I find it really hard to see how this does not escalate into not just a regional war, but other people are going to pop in and say, well, wait a minute. If you’re on Israel side, I’m on Iran’s side. And, and um I’m super worried that we are not inching we’re probably barreling towards what might be our next, like, international conflict. I mean, it really does feel like we’re living in the last days. We have global war. We have like, the earth is angry. The nations are angry. Like eclipses, work mercury in retrograde. 


Myles E. Johnson: Well, hold on, hold on. Hold on. 


Kaya Henderson: Come on, help me nephew.


Myles E. Johnson: Because there’s been, there’s been a lot of collapsing. Solar eclipses are um a [?] they been–


Kaya Henderson: A natural–


Myles E. Johnson: –happening. 


Kaya Henderson: –phenomenon. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yes. 


Kaya Henderson: Thank you. 


Myles E. Johnson: Retro, retro Mercury retrogrades all the time. So those are one thing, too. And I hear you and I think I’ve been really big on and this is almost like anti being on this podcast sometimes I’ve been really big on not being on social media this year. It’s just um and trying to get my news sources from somewhere more contained, but then also just trying to um not being in so much commentary. And um, I guess this ties in, but like, speaking of shout outs, I went to Montclair University and um the students were amazing. There was no students there who were over 19, and they were talking so brilliantly about what was going on across the world, about what was going on in Palestine, what about what was going, what goes on with gender. We just had a such a big like big conversation about everything. And I don’t know, I think. I think the world and the earth does have these moments of renewal and does have these death and rebirth processes. And I think that if I were a betting person, I would say. I would say that every generation gets to answer, what do we how peaceful can we make this? What is love? What what what what we can what can we do next? And I think this is our generation’s time to really say we don’t stand for this. I think [?] we do stand for this, and I don’t think that um I don’t see I don’t see the end times. I see, I see a beginning of new times that I think that we’re in these I think we’re in a moment where it’s like, are we going to repeat history, you know? And now the history that we repeated is accessible. Um. And we and we can see it. And I’m not saying it’s not scary. I’m not saying that, you know, everything is going to go well. And I’m not being I’m not just having my, my, my, my, my, my head in the sand. But I do think specifically during specific dark times like this, it’s so important to have a politic of some type of optimism and of some type of like, like hope and love politic when it comes to this, because that’s really all you have and not love in a floaty, fluffy way but love when it comes to oh we, we we, we need to show that we’re that there’s people who we are who are for peace. People who are here for love, people who are here for a global world where everybody can be safe. Um. And I and I do think when you look at history, every generation gets asked, what do you stand for and what are you falling for? And I think this is our moment. 


Kaya Henderson: I love that. That is so thank you for offering that to the space. Um. It is it’s true that, like these days the only thing that gives me hope are young people. Because young people have a very clear idea about the world they want to live in, and this is not it. And they know how to pursue justice and they know how to pursue political change. And so thank you for reminding me that even when all looks dim and the old people have messed it all up, that there are still forces for good in the world, and they are active and engaged and amen. Hallelujah! Thank you. Jesus. Mmm. [music break]


DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Stay tuned. There’s more to come. 




De’Ara Balenger: So my news is about Faith Ringgold and I hope that our audience knows who she is, and if not, go seek her art. I I don’t remember the first time I saw a Faith, I don’t remember the first time I saw her work, but I remember it was a quilt. So Faith Ringgold is is known, she’s an incredible artist. She’s known most for her quilt work, but she also does sculpture and multi she she is such a multifaceted artist. She does performance art. And her career, really, I think started to take shape during the Black Arts movement. She was she was a part of the Black Arts Movement, which was such a beautiful time in terms of the work that produced. But the push for the Black artists, for the Black Arts movement was what was going on sort of at the tail end of the civil rights movement and, you know, sort of aligned and akin to what the Black, the Black Panther Party was ideologically saying in terms of Black self-determination, um using using voice in some, you know, and if it comes to it, violence for Black liberation. And so Faith Ringgold was very much a part of it, um others that were part of that movement, if folks aren’t familiar Nikki Giovanni, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, um and so, so, so many more. But um part of why this came to light is in preparation for um a show that’s happening at the Chicago exhibition. Um. That now I feel so compelled to go see. Faith Ringgold passed away over, I can’t remember. It was some time over the weekend or late last week. First of all, this woman, just when you look at her is just a light. Is just a beam, like, always like sort of just a cultural reference. Sort of like Erykah Badu before Erykah Badu. Okay. Like this woman was really, I think setting the pace and the rhythm in terms of Black expression. And one of my favorite pieces of hers, actually was like, like she was like and this is a this is in a quilt, but it’s like a time machine. And she goes back to France in I think the 1920s and has conversations with Picasso and others about the African influence in art, but it’s done through the quilt in a very takes you to the past, but almost sort of Afrocentric vibe feeling sort of way. She also was so much a part of her practice was activism. And I think, you know, the Black Arts Movement artists, a lot of their practice was activism. And so she was a part of the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War and actually spent some nights in jail because of, I think it was the burning of the flag or something like that that happened. She also has a quilted piece that is actually going to be a part of the Chicago exhibition I think, that she did for the women of Rikers. So part of her journey and part of her practice was the liberation of women in particular. And so I think she felt this um in a very particular sort of way when it came to incarcerated women. The list goes on and on in terms of, like all of the activist work that she did, whether that was making sure that more women were able to show in some of these sort of bigger institutions. And so yeah I just feel like she is in so many parts, in so many ways, like a cornerstone of just American contemporary art. And how she elevated it. She created expansiveness around it. She created inclusivity around it. And is such an incredible Black story, just storyteller. But when it comes to Black folk and Black culture, I just see Faith Ringgold as one of our most treasured storytellers. And so yeah. I just wanted to bring this to the pod because she is, she just is, right? And I think she, you know, she was born in 1939, I think, in Harlem. Um. And you know, her, her the folks that were supposed to be her, her mentors and people we love, like Romare Bearden, were like, okay, girl, you’re cute, but and then she became who she became. So I just wanted to bring her presence um and her light to y’all. Because I love y’all. And I just think she is such a treasure. 


Myles E. Johnson: Thank you for bringing this to the podcast. I don’t think that we could have avoided bringing um Miss Faith to the podcast because she is such a pioneer. Um. I think one thing I’m extremely appreciative of specifically as um, am, what a few things I’m very appreciative of when I reflect on her, one being old age. You know, I am one of the I am not one of those, you know, don’t do not do it. I’m not one of those people who cries over the casket when somebody leaves at 90, 92, 100. All these other things. So I also think about what type of connection to um, to peace, to self expression, to transmutation of trauma, that you have to have to be a Black woman who was born in 1939 to be able to not get out from some type of stress induced disease or, or organ failure like that that to me is like something that, that, that, that that  Ithat I have to, like, recognize. The other thing too, is um, you know, selfishly, maybe like partly narcissisticly [sound of zipper being pulled] when I see these um artists specifically um these ones who are part of the Black Arts Movement move um and how they lived their life. And I kind of think about how limited those times were and how they found ways. You know, for the last couple of years, um or few years really? Ugh, goodness. Last few years I’ve been like, so big on okay, I actually feel a white supremacist thing happening when people say, oh, you’re a writer. And you care about reacting to white culture, or you care about this thing because it really actually makes sure that I’d never in place in a generous generative space. And um, I think her being a performance artist, her being um, a painter, her being all these having all these different modalities of how she expressed herselves really denies this place of, oh, we’ll put you in these type of this little short closed box and this is where you and this is where you are. I think that we can see a lot of people, um I think like just so many people come to mind, but like, Baldwin really fell victim to um always kind of being in a constant engagement with the white, with white culture and um and and never being able to necessarily um be imaginative or generative. And I just think that she’s done that. And then also like the quilt, you know. 


Kaya Henderson: Yes. Yes. 


Myles E. Johnson: The quilt. I think, I think something there’s something to be said about um you know, being an esteemed Black woman artist and making the quilt, which is such a tradition in our culture and making that your centerpiece. I think sometimes we can get so caught up and I love it. Don’t try don’t y’all–


Kaya Henderson: Yes. 


Myles E. Johnson: –don’t deny me. I love the I love the sugar sphinxes, I love all these kind of avant garde big works. But I think there’s something really cool which you could you can come and and show up in these institutions with what your grandma’s grandma did? You don’t have to do what what what what what what the white people did or what or what you think is the most avant garde thing or whatever you you you did what your grandma’s grandma grandma people’s did. And that’s how you got into the museum. And I think there’s something really beautiful about that. So thank you so much for being a light. Um. And, and, and, you know, my belief system, I think she can still hear us. So thank you so much for being a light to um all artists in and all and Black folks. 


Kaya Henderson: Yes. The quilt. I mean, I first encountered Faith Ringgold as a children’s book author. Um. I started my teaching career in 1992, in the South Bronx. And one of the things that we all taught, no matter what subject we were teaching, was a book called Tar Beach. And Tar Beach was a story about a little Black girl who lived in Harlem, who wanted to be free and who wanted to fly, and Tar Beach the the title is a reference to her rooftop in Harlem, right? When when you don’t have a beach, you make a beach and tar beach was her rooftop in Harlem, where she was able to transcend all of the things happening and fly all over the city. And so I encountered Faith Ringgold as the as the deliverer of freedom for little Black girls in New York City who could go to their rooftops and lay down on the top of they roof and be absolutely and totally free and um, and and then realized that Tar Beach was the story of one of the quilts that she had that she had designed. And so one like freedom is my thing. Um. Black freedom for real is my thing. But then to be immersed into this world of quilts which Myles, you so eloguent, eloquently stated, like, this is our heritage, this is our history, this is our art on our terms that she was able to put into the mainstream, that she was able to make relevant again, to take folk art, of what our grandmother’s grandmother’s did and bring it to galleries and to the world is just astounding. So yes, Miss Faith, thank you, thank you, thank you and keep on inspiring us. Yes. Thank you. 


DeRay Mckesson: I learned about who Faith Ringgold was pretty recently, and of all places, I was doing a tour at Rikers and went to Rosie’s, which is where the women are housed at Rosie’s. And as soon as you walk into Rosie’s, there’s this beautiful piece of art. And, you know, Rikers is not a particularly beautiful place. So as I’m walking around Rikers, it’s like, you know, if you’ve never been to a prison, they are all pretty drab and dark and there’s not a lot not a lot to look at. But at Rosie’s, there’s like, this really beautiful, huge piece of art that’s encased in glass. So when I’m walking, I’m like, I asked you know, at the warden at the um, the guy who ran the prison [?], I’m like, you know, what is this? And he’s like, oh, that’s this piece by this artist named Faith Ringgold. I’m like, well how, you know, it’s at it’s at Rosie’s and and they’re like, yeah, it’s been here for a long time. You know it’s an important she’s an important artist. A Black woman da da da. So I go home and I look up Faith Ringgold. And that was my first encounter with Faith Ringgold was actually, seeing her a piece of art at Rosie’s, which is the women’s facility at Rikers. And it was this really beautiful moment of being like, wow, people see this here every there’s not a lot of beauty in this place at all. Anywhere. Like it’s no color it’s no nothing. Um. And there was Faith and and that was my introduction to her. So in hearing about her passing, it made me look up even more about her. And you all have already covered it. But it was an honor to see one of her pieces in real life and it has been there for a very long time. Um. And I am happy that people get access to art. 


Myles E. Johnson: Between Iran and Faith Ringgold um the phrase that DeRay just said and there was Faith sounds like a really pretty title for this episode. 


Kaya Henderson: Mmm. 


De’Ara Balenger: Mmm. 


DeRay Mckesson: Kaya, it’s you.


Kaya Henderson: Well, there’s not faith in the state of Tennessee, friends. Uh. Because [laughing] sorry, sorry. 


De’Ara Balenger: Womp womp wompitty womp.


Myles E. Johnson: Get my Bible child.


Kaya Henderson: Sorry because uh the state Senate just passed a bill in Tennessee that would allow teachers to carry concealed handguns at kindergarten through 12th grade schools. And I bring this to the pod, maybe out of real incredulousness, because there I just, you know, I pride myself on trying to, like, see other people’s perspectives and to be empathetic and understanding. And there’s just no no world in which I can understand why we think it would be important to allow teachers in schools to carry concealed weapons. I just don’t know. I don’t I, there is I cannot think of a use case for why this would be important, that our schools would be better, our kids would be better, teachers would be better, our communities would be better if teachers were packing? Packing, you know, concealed weapons. But in the state of Tennessee, um a set of lawmakers think that this is really important. Even after there was a fatal shooting at a private, private Christian school in Nashville where three nine year olds and three adults were killed. Um. They believe that it would be really important to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons. Um. The bill still has a ways to go. It has to go um through the house and then be approved by the governor. And, you know, there are all of these things that people will have to do before they can get a permit to carry weapons in schools, I guess. Um. But if you remember, last year or so, there were three Black lawmakers in Tennessee who were expelled. And we remember their activism, we remember their expulsion and then their reinstatement. But the reason that they were all up in arms was because the legislature was proposing to allow teachers to carry guns in school. And so it seems that that piece continues, um 34 states bar teachers and the general public from carrying guns in K-12 schools. We have safe school zones where if you commit a crime near a school, the penalties are increased. And somehow or another in the state of Tennessee, we they feel like not we they feel like it is important to allow people to carry weapons. So I bring this to the pod because, um I am really perplexed about the solutions that people are coming up with. I don’t even know what problem this is trying to solve, frankly. Like I’m baffled. I I  Iread this and I literally don’t know what to do with it. And so I brought it to the pod because maybe you smart people can help me understand why we think this is good? Um. I can only imagine that at some point somebody in a school, a teacher, an educator, an adult, um will take out their concealed weapon, and there will be tragedy that results from it. Not like we don’t already have all kinds of tragedies happening in schools with guns. But only then will we say, hmm do teachers really need to carry guns? I remember um, when Betsy DeVos was the was um was the secretary of education. And during her confirmation hearing, they asked her if it was important, like if she said they sort of challenged her and said, you support teachers carrying guns in school? And she said some ludicrous things like, well, what if a bear came to school and the teachers needed to defend kids [laugh] from the bear. I don’t know, I like I taught for, I taught, I have been in and around schools for years and no bears ever came to school. Nobody ever needed to shoot a bear. Nobody. So explain this to me, friends. Help me. Help me make it make sense to me. Why would we arm teachers in schools where our precious, precious babies are? Why Tennessee? What’s going on? 


DeRay Mckesson: Luckily, this has not been signed into law. It is still being a proposed bill. The proposed bill, though, is is the que– there’s a question of will parents get notified? And they’re like, no. And you’re like. 


Kaya Henderson: No. 


DeRay Mckesson: What? 


Kaya Henderson: No, no, that’s right. 


DeRay Mckesson: You won’t you so not only will they let your teacher carry a concealed weapon, but you all know and I’m actually like, not only do I think that it will lead to something, you know, like Lord knows teacher is a really broad title, so that could be anybody in the school. You know, when people hear teacher, they think, I don’t know, Miss Matthews, a first grade teacher, but depending on how you operationalize stuff, this could be, you know, any adult in the building that they label something. So that’s even, you know, this is not necessarily like licensed teachers or whatever. It could be any adult who’s in the building, first of all. But the second thing is, you know, even the best teachers, you cannot see a 100% of what is happening around you all the time. This is how kids are on cell phones. And when we were in school, we were passing notes behind a teacher’s back. You know, now they texting behind the teacher’s back. But it’s kids. They always into something. What I think is going to happen is that the gun is locked up or not. The kid gets the key and is playing around or being nosy. It’s not locked up. A kid gets a thing and is just playing around, and then tragedy ensues because it just is accessible. You talk about school shootings. Imagine what happens when the guns are just in the school. You know, like part of what we do with kids is to you know, kids have big feelings, adult have big feelings, Lord knows. But kids definitely have big feelings. And we got to help people figure out how to manage those big feelings. That’s a part of what we do in schools. And it is important that we don’t have weapons around them when they’re trying to process their big feelings because they are big, they are like having tantrums and meltdowns and and what we’re doing with them is timeouts and, you know, send them to the office so they can cool down da da da. They make irrational choices in the midst of big feelings? And we know that, that’s not a surprise. The idea of making guns, just putting them around kids is just a recipe for disaster. And like Kaya said, what problem are we solving? We’ll be back here if this passes. When a tragedy ensues like how did this happen? 


Myles E. Johnson: This is such a weird like like only it’s just such a oddly like American thing to hear. Like oh what well how to how do we address this? Oh, more guns. Like, it’s so weird. The part that I thought was really interesting too was um, you know, just thinking about how it’s been, like, very difficult to, like, pass gun laws and reform and all these different things. But inside this article, they have a list of things that the teachers need to get. Get an enhancement carry permit, get written authorization for a superintendent principal da da da. Complete 40 hours of basic training in school policing and 40 hours of peace officers standards and training conditions da da da da, complete a background check, undergo a psychological exam conducted by a Tennessee licensed healthcare provider. I’m like, can we get that to the gun laws? [laugh] Don’t give this to the teachers, but can we make this the what you need in order to even be able to touch a gun–


Kaya Henderson: Have a gun. 


Myles E. Johnson: –in this country? 


Kaya Henderson: That’s right. 


Myles E. Johnson: Because you know how to do it because you’re doing it for the teachers. Um. So yeah, this is just this is just ridiculous and I think. I think. I don’t and I don’t know how, like um, how, on purpose this is, whatever. But what I also think that this does is get people so hopeless around a peaceful America, because it seems as though all of the resolve and all of the solutions that are coming are so stupid. Um so, I don’t know, like a different like term for it. And they’re so anti peace and I think what the–


Kaya Henderson: And they’re violent. 


Myles E. Johnson: Again, I think that’s what that does for people is make people not even want to engage with seeing a uh America with less guns and more peace because these are the reactions to it. And I don’t know if any if they’re if people are smart enough. I’m just I’m not talking about these lawmakers are smart enough to think that strategically. Like like, oh my goodness, we’re going to weaponize our incompetence and say like, oh, we know what the answer to this is. More guns. So they leave us alone about the guns. But to me, that is something that ends up happening with stuff like this too, um is that people just kind of want to, you know. Just take their kids out of school and just give up because, like like what? It just boggles my mind that this is even that this is even the option for people. 


De’Ara Balenger: This is where my brain went with things like this. One, this has nothing to do with the children, obviously, and more to do with like political agendas that support the gun lobby or that are pushed by the gun lobby. And so that was my first instinct when it came to this, because I would assume that there is a very powerful gun lobby in the state of Tennessee. But what my um, where sort of the googling and the research led me was actually to some, some actually some darkness and controversy within education in Tennessee that’s connected to this governor. So I what I’m finding is that um there’s actual actually and DeRay and Kaya obviously you know more about this, but there’s been um, a powerful charter lobby in Tennessee, and somehow the charters are connected to, like, private investment groups that then can make money off of the charter. I don’t know how this all works, but that’s what I’m finding more and more of that there’s just like, actually some education policy related moneys going in in places they shouldn’t be going like fraud type looking things. So I think this is even more complicated than what we thought it was, and that it could be interesting, actually, for us to get somebody from Tennessee that is like politically savvy in that state to explain to us how how something so wild like this has come to be. So it was nothing helpful here other than that this is actually deeper and darker than I think we know it to be, and that we probably should dig into it a little bit deeper with somebody that understands nuance, like Tennessee politics. 


Kaya Henderson: De’Ara, I will say to I mean, you have just opened a [laugh] you you you opened a box that um we not ready to to dig into just yet. But I will say that, you know, you’ve heard the phrase politics make strange bedfellows. And I think that one of the challenges in the education community is that in pursuit of some educational innovation and policies, um the education community has, has gotten into bed with people who are who in the rest of our lives, outside of our educational lives, um who espouse different principles than what we then then what I believe, I won’t say we I will say that there are a lot of issues, for example, um that are important to my non education life that um where we can find commonality in the education space and I think that um we will get in bed with people who we have some common interests on education and not realize that while the left hand is doing this education stuff, the right hand is doing a whole bunch of other things. And I think that that is a reckoning that is happening in the education community now, as we watch lawmakers and legislators who have been champions for some of the things that we appreciate in education, um also champion causes that are killing our communities. And so I think the education community is having a rough reckoning right now, around some of these issues. That’s my nice clean– 


De’Ara Balenger: Way yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: –in a bow. 


De’Ara Balenger: Put a bow, exactly, but it that’s so fascinating, though. Like, I wouldn’t have thought, you know, just when you think sort of the root cause is a simple thing. It’s, it’s, it’s not in this particular instance. And I think to your point, Kaya, when we think about education, we think about one of those safe spaces that isn’t necessarily going to have you know, private interests um that are somehow guiding and shaping some of its advocacy. 


Kaya Henderson: And lets if we let’s go back to our history. Tennessee is one of the states that has had some of the most anti Black. I mean, Tennessee kicked off post reconstruction some of the Black codes, the Jim Crow the like the really deeply entrenched policies that were anti-Black. And so, um you know, we got to know these things so that we’re not surprised, like, this is it is not surprising to me that this is kicking off in Tennessee. If you deeply understand American history. So go study history people. 


DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Don’t go anywhere, more Pod Save the People is coming. 




DeRay Mckesson: My news is about the state of Louisiana. So in. So, you know, I’ve been dealing with Louisiana, unfortunately for a while because of my own court case. But in the state of Louisiana, they implemented a look back period for victims of sexual assault. So, as we know, many people who are sexually assaulted as kids and as adults, it takes some time for them to say the claims out loud. And most of the statutes of limitation around the country for sexual assault are really short. So if you don’t report it within three years or five years then you can’t report it at all, there’s some crimes like murder, where there either is no statute of limitations or it is very, very long. But sexual assault is one that historically is not that long. And as a result, there are many states that have put together lookback periods. So you all know this because this is how Diddy gets sued in the state of New York, is that in New York they put together a look back period that said, if you file a claim within this set of years, even if it’s a really old claim, you have a set of years in this look back period to file a claim. And after this lookback period, we’re closing it back up and it’s going to be the regular statute of limitations. So in Louisiana in the ’70s, um there was a the Diocese of Lafayette in Saint Martinville. Um. They were sexually abusing a host of young boys in between ages eight and 14. And they didn’t they didn’t disclose this until they were in their 50’s and 60’s. In 2021, the Louisiana legislature unanimously passed the Louisiana Child Victims Act, which provided a three year lookback window that allowed survivors to file lawsuits that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. Now, that’s the lead up. The news is that this got contested by the Diocese, who does not want to be sued. And the Louisiana State Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, said that the church has a property claim to not be sued, and they essentially nullified the look back period that was set unanimously by the legislature. And it has confused a whole lot of legal experts because they’re like, what is going on? Um. But it is the reason I bring it is that it’s a stunning reminder of the way the system protects a whole host of people with structural power and, you know, the church in a lot of places, like in Baltimore, there’s a big lawsuit around the archdiocese. But these cases are popping up and the church has been a massive enabler and perpetrator of sexual abuse to kids, and it has largely gone unpunished. And I bring this up just because this is the latest case. Uh. But these lawsuits are popping up all over the place. And the legal rigamarole that is happening to protect these priests and to protect the financial interests of the church is stunning to me. 


Myles E. Johnson: I think this is, like, directly, um connected with what um Auntie Kaya and De’Ara were talking about with the politics making strange bedfellows. And um, specifically times like this, you’re able to see um. [laugh] I don’t you know, again, like, like probably like, color me naive. But like so I, when I think of a church, I still think of a church, you know? But there’s these political um and and obviously heinous acts that have happened or maybe not obviously, allegedly heinous acts that have happened. But then but it is like just like political bonding that is that’s happening and protection that’s happening that you’re just like like, oh, why do you need that? I think what makes me most sad about this story. I guess the emotion is sad, is the fact that this is supposed to be some place where like like. I don’t be like. Y’all. We just there’s there’s a lot there’s, there’s a lot of need for some faith. There’s a lot of need for some type of for some type of moral center. You know, for a lot of people. A lot of need for people to be able to feel like they can go somewhere and feel and feel safe. And even if this happened years and years ago, if something happened years and years ago, it’s really important for an institution to do something now and and and for it to instead bar victims from getting justice like that is that that to me just says something a lot about what the church is actually being used for, you know. Um. It’s being used for political navigation, it’s being used for profit and and and and and taxes and no taxes and stuff. But it seems like it’s not being used for a whole lot of um doing anything in alignment with what we will call God or a Messiah. Um. Which I think just just feels really, just really, really sad. Is there um I guess I have a question for De’Ara and or DeRay. Is there any type of, like, I don’t know like is the term like an appeal? Like, is there anything that, like, those people can do? 


De’Ara Balenger: I’m looking through now just to see where they are in the appellate process. The other thing we need to realize about Louisiana, the legal system there is also like a little bit different than everywhere else so. 


Kaya Henderson: A little bit different? [laughter] Uh.


De’Ara Balenger: So so well they have–


Kaya Henderson: Come on say the things. 


De’Ara Balenger: They have. 


Kaya Henderson: Say the things. 


De’Ara Balenger: They have they have a completely different legal system. So the rest of our country is a common law system that we got from the British. But Louisiana still sort of it’s like a French system. It’s a civil law system. And so it’s a lot different in terms of like even how it’s set up adversarially. So um, so all that to say, it’s, it’s we need a lot of experts today. I’m not an expert on Louisiana um uh legal system, but will what I will say and what I think is compelling to me about this and something I thought about since I applied to law school is that, you know, our in this country, you know, laws. And from the Western people, we’ve gotten these laws that have been set up and really so much at the heart of these legal systems is the protection of property. Right. It’s it’s little about the protection of rights. Whether it’s free speech or right, your right to religion, yadda yadda yadda. Like, it really comes down to the importance of how we’re protecting white people’s white men’s property and money. 


Kaya Henderson: Say it. [sigh]


De’Ara Balenger: And so I think this is this and it’s actually the judge in, Chief Justice John Weimer, this is how in his dissent, he says, essentially, you’re elevating vested property rights, which are purely economic rights above all other rights, including such fundamental rights as the rights to privacy, to free speech and to freedom of religion and from racial discrimination. So I think that that’s sort of my point, right, is that when it comes down to the balance of the money’s versus the people. The money’s is going to be the thing that that is giving greater significance. So I think that’s sort of the that’s the takeaway here from my from my legal perspective. 


Kaya Henderson: I’m not a legal expert, but I’ve been a human my whole entire life, and that more people thought that it was okay to preserve the pedophile priests’ right to economic justice through property, as opposed to these people’s right to seek justice for, you know, what was what what happened to them is, is incredulous to me. It really is. I don’t I don’t have much else to say on this. Um. But I do think that we often underestimate, you know, Myles, you talked about a church being a church and a safe place for people to go. I think we have to also recognize that these are institutions with powerful monetary interests, lobbying abilities, and that will protect these economic and power dynamics at all cost. And I think that’s what you see happening here in Louisiana. 


Myles E. Johnson: Absolutely. 


Kaya Henderson: I love Louisiana as a place to visit. 


De’Ara Balenger: I do too. I do too.


Kaya Henderson: As a place to visit child but whew. 


De’Ara Balenger: But I’ll tell you this, and this is something that I’ve been thinking about, is that first of all, I love the South and I refuse to lose it. Okay? And I feel like Georgia in particular is a good example of what can happen in the southern state politically, right? The fact that it’s now a battleground state, the fact that Stacey Abrams was a gubernatorial candidate, like those things can happen in other places in the South. I do deeply talking getting back to our faith. I think that they can. So basically, I just want to make an announcement, y’all’s days is numbered because we’s going to take that too. 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 


Kaya Henderson: Yes. 


Myles E. Johnson: Um. With my news. I’m kind of double dutching because we’ve had two interesting men who don’t really have any overlap. I don’t want to make it seem like I’m like, I’m creating creating some them as equals. But um, we had two, Black men who passed away, one being hmm, Mister Cee. Mister Cee is an accomplished iconic deejay in New York. Um. Was just part of breaking so many New York City records. Everybody has a Mister Cee story who’s of a certain era, who’s in the industry. I was um loving seeing everybody who I knew, a lot of people I know in media or in music talk about um how iconic Mister Cee was and also, [?] everybody talking about this, but also, you know, walk with me. Once upon a time, I was a avid, avid Wendy Williams fan. Even in this state, even in the city of Atlanta, I was an avid Wendy Williams fan, and I would go on and figure out what she was saying, and Mister Cee was somebody who Wendy Williams always talked about. She would always talk about his um sexuality. She would um always accuse him of being queer and gay and all these different things. And Mr. C was arrested, a few times for being, for picking up, trans sex workers. Um. So when Mister Cee had passed away, I was really interested in um if he’s ever addressed those things specifically before he died, because, you know, I was just kind of in my head um wondering. What happened with those rumors and what happened with those um accusations and stuff. And I was really happy, quite frankly, to find this video that he did with um Maino, um and and just trigger warn if you ever if you’re going to search for this video that I’m telling you about, trigger warning. They are not having the most uh respectable and or um academic discussion of gender and sexuality that you can have. It is a lot of, Brooklyn Negro talk. But [laughter] that’s [?] I say was talks. So um so any who, um when Maino asked him asked him about uh your attraction to trans women and how do you like trans women and stuff like that, Maino did not use those that language, but do you love trans women, I was so happy to hear Mister Cee say that’s what I like. And I was so happy to hear Mister Cee say um that’s what I’m into. That’s what I like. And I think that it takes such bravery for a Black man to be able to say that. So yeah, I wanted to, obviously talk about his career when it comes to music, when it comes to media, when it comes to what he’s contributed to hip hop culture, because it’s so big. But also, I think there’s something happening in hip hop in general around queerness, around trans inclusivity, around um sexuality that is um that is both subversive. But also you get this really huge pushback of patriarchal and homophobic and transph– phobic forces that always that tension. And I think that, um I do think that we should also remember Mister Cee as somebody who eventually, is one [?] like normalizing people having diverse sexualities and genders inside of hip hop culture, because for whatever reason, hip hop people see hip hop as a place that is immune for that, even though once you crack that open, um or once you are on the inside of hip hop culture, you see that there are so many homosexuals, there’s so many people who are um attracted to uh people who are not cis on the hip hop scene. Um. One day I’ll write my Karrine Steffans’ tell all book [laughter] but about the time about the about the about the men who have hollered at me. At me in all sizes, and all amounts of concealer on. 


De’Ara Balenger: Oh. That book. 


And all types of blush.


Kaya Henderson: Why why why one day, why not today? 


Myles E. Johnson: I have because because I want to get through my Faith Ringgold era before I go totally trash box. So you know you know it’s easier to go from from from from that to trash. Then from trash to to to to to that. So so there’s a there’s a journey just ride it with me friends. But um yeah, I wanted to I wanted to bring um bring that to the podcast too. So now flipping the page to another Black man who has passed away, one OJ Simpson passed away. And um yeah, that that’s that is that is wild. My um, my partner told me that OJ Simpson passed away and he was like, OJ just died. And I was like. You know he was he was he was he was [?] here for a quite a long time for somebody who um killed somebody. Like, I was like, I was like, I don’t know what you want from me. I don’t know what you–


De’Ara Balenger: Two people. 


Myles E. Johnson: Two people yeah sorry. Sorry. That’s the exact my my boyfriend actually corrected me with the exact same language. Said two people, and I was. I was like, oh, sorry, I forgot. I didn’t know. I only know about that okay. But um but OJ’s interesting. And I do feel like I want to I wanted to bring this to the podcast, because I do think that it highlights an end of an era. And I also think that when we think about because. I know about OJ in reverse, right? So Toni Morrison’s book um [?] like um. Ugh. It’s such a it’s such a weird long title. Um. If somebody can look it up for me while while, um I do, but it’s Toni Morrison racing um. 


De’Ara Balenger: Racing, Politics, and Gendering something, that one?


Myles E. Johnson: Yes yes yes yes yes. 


De’Ara Balenger: Yeah hold on a sec. 


Myles E. Johnson: [?] Where she um. Where she talks about um O, where she talks about OJ and there’s a um a collection of other um, academics who are discussing OJ. I know about him through that and all the other content that I’ve seen. 


De’Ara Balenger: Yeah. 


Myles E. Johnson: Um uh. 


De’Ara Balenger: Race-ing Justice En-gendering power. That one? 


Myles E. Johnson: Yes. Exactly. Yes. Um. And she talks and she talks about um like OG. 


De’Ara Balenger: Anita Hill. 


Myles E. Johnson: And Anita Hill and all these other and all these other different things. And then I see comedy um uhstand up acts that discuss OJ. And then, of course, it’s just something that’s in the air even watching um barbershop. And I remember Cedric the Entertainer’s kind of like um bomb like well, not it was a great joke, but the kind of joke that kind of ripples when people think about barbershop is that he’s in the barbershop saying OJ did it, and everybody’s like, oh, that was like the big thing in barbershop. And so I it’s it’s it’s interesting because I think that from what I’ve seen is that OJ for a lot of people was the symbol that oh, wow. We might really be moving in this nation because now a black person is able to do something just as heinous as a white person and got away with it. And this shows a type of marker to to, towards justice. Not saying that it was a universally Black thing to do, but I think that that is a dimension of what happened that I find the most interesting about OJ. I think a lot of people sincerely might have been questioning the system and saw people being framed before. I think Johnnie Cochran was a masterful lawyer, a masterful speaker, and I think that he really knew how to story tell, and use what was happening um post Rodney King in order to really shape public dialog and imagination around this. And the last thing I’ll say is that it was, again, I think because I just grew I just was the American culture is just the air for me. So there’s so it’s weird to think that there’s the it’s the it’s there was a beginning. So it’s almost like thinking of the first drop of water if you’re living in the Pacific Ocean. But he but OJ was the first drop of water when it comes to court TV, when it comes to– 


De’Ara Balenger: Oh yeah. 


Myles E. Johnson: –um people talking about, when these documentaries that we’re watching, like he was the first when it comes to that. So I think although obviously he was not a good person by any um stretch of the imagination, I do think culturally, um what what his heinous acts did shaped America for, for ever. For the worst, but for the better or for the worst. But it shaped America forever, I think we can’t say when we turn on our television, how we engage on social media, what we care about, what we sensationalize, what we do, the fact that we just spent all last year watching Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnny Depp in court, like all that is a uh, is an echo of of of of O.J.. Um. And I wanted to just recognize that culturally and bring that to the podcast with y’all, Mister Cee and and O.J.. 


DeRay Mckesson: There are two things that come to mind when I think about the O.J. thing. One is, I don’t know if you saw on Twitter, but somebody tweeted that now that he is dead, she can finally won’t be in violation of her NDA. Is that she worked at the university that O.J. went to. And he had there are all these allegations of him sexually assaulting white women. And she was there when Robert Kardashian came to pay off the two women, and she had to process it. She was like, I took the check. She was like, my boss was the dean or whoever. She was like, I knew it, but I had to sign an NDA because I was a part of the process, and I couldn’t talk about it until he died. And she was like, he’s finally dead. And she was like this is why I’ve always hated the Kardashians. And she was like, there was always a pattern, but nobody could talk about it because we were bound by these NDAs. So I thought that was interesting. And the second thing is that um, and like Myles said, you know, it was in many ways the birth of the 24 hour news cycle. There were some reporters from that time talking uh somebody who was a reporter then was asked like, why didn’t you cover this day to day? And he was like, well, the news was the trial. And so the evidence but he was like, from the moment it happened and all of that through the trial, he was like, this was every single day people were producing stuff about O.J. and that was sort of the first. And he was like, it was so confusing to me. But it is true that um, that this was one of the first cases that enthralled everybody in a very particular way. So um, wild that it is, you know, that he has passed and, you know, culture happens every day. 


Myles E. Johnson: DeRay said sorry to that man. 


DeRay Mckesson: Sorry to that man.


Kaya Henderson: All of this is so interesting Myles. [laughing]


Myles E. Johnson: I know I gave y’all a wide [banter] I gave you all a double dutch. Yeah.


Kaya Henderson: Listen, listen. So first of all, I mean, I am a product of both of these, like, of the, like the heydays of both of these men. Right? Like um, and so on the Mister Cee front, had knew who Mister Cee was, knew about all his DJ and stuff, had no idea about his sexuality and, and, and I think you brought up a really, really important point about um, about hip hop’s reckoning with who people really are. Right? And creating space for people in a genre that is wildly narrowing to live into its full expansiveness. Right. Like there are all kinds of people with all doing all kinds of things in hip hop, but we have relegated a very narrow set of attributes and values and whatnot to hip hop, and I think it’s falling apart. And um and so um um, I actually think this is a good thing. Um. And then the OJ thing is like, you know, some of y’all probably were not born, but like, I know I can tell you exactly where I was when the Bronco chase was happening, right? I remember watching it on TV. I was living in Brooklyn, in Glenn Hill. I was a teacher. I was standing in my apartment that evening having dinner watch sitting in my apartment, having dinner when breaking news came on. And we’re all watching a white Bronco, you know, drive slowly through the, through the freeways of LA. with O.J. Simpson in it. And, you know, from growing up as a little girl with O.J. as a hero, right? OJ as the football star, the Black man made good, the all of these things to the trial of the century. And and, you know, if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. And I mean this I still don’t think that I have fully processed all of the various feelings and ideas that I have about the O.J. Simpson case. Um. But I um, it is like it is it is a it is a cultural moment. Um. O.J. ushered us into a different cultural moment, not just in terms of court coverage of media cases, but how we think about domestic violence in the world changed radically. Um. And I cannot I can also remember exactly where I was the moment that the acquittal came through, because as one of a very few Black people in a white organization. We were I was at work and, you know, we were all in one room. Everybody in my organization was all in one room watching this on television. And I remember palpably, when O.J. got off all of the people of color in the organization erupting in glee and, you know, celebration and all of the white people, you know, not. And and in some cases, it had nothing to, in many cases, had nothing to do with domestic violence or or Nicole and Ron. It had everything to do with Black and white in America. And so um, it is complicated and, you know, and yeah. Um. Still processing. 


De’Ara Balenger: I think the same Kaya. I remember, too, I was in high school. And um, I went to Moray, a very private white school in DC. Um. Well, it’s becoming less that our numbers are doing better and better. Um. But all the, like, the high school kids watched around the TV, which is wild. And that’s exactly what happened. 


Kaya Henderson: Crazy. 


De’Ara Balenger: All the all the Black kids were thrilled and all that. And it was something. And to your point Kaya, it had very little to do with like the–


Kaya Henderson: The facts of the case. 


De’Ara Balenger: –individuals. Yeah. It was this very like visceral race related energy that I think we’re just as Americans, just operating in these energetic planes or fields or whatever. And some of these things are just so, so deeply in our molecules that this is yeah. Because and that and I think because and I think it goes in a in a small piece of that too I think within Black culture is just and I think this is goes to the Puff Daddy thing, to where it was just like, we got to support each other, we got to support each other no matter, because O.J. Simpson wasn’t even like riding for Black people at all. 


Kaya Henderson: No exactly. 


De’Ara Balenger: Really.


Kaya Henderson: Exactly. 


De’Ara Balenger: You know, so it just it was I don’t it is so complicated. Um. But I do have a funny OJ story because OJ Simpson was hangs out in Minnesota. You know, where my family’s from, y’all. And so– 


Kaya Henderson: What? Why? [laughing]


De’Ara Balenger: Because there’s a golf course. There’s actually a golf course up by where my grandparents had like a little lake house. Like a little lake house, y’all. My grandparents were blue collar workers. So um but in this town that we’ve been going to for decades has now become a pretty affluent town because of this golf course. And my mom, there’s like a pizza shop there. My mom was there with some of my cousins, and O.J. Simpson walks in. And the white people are high fiving him and so excited to see him. My mom, there’s a killer in here. [laughter] Girl. Well you’re next. Okay.


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. 


De’Ara Balenger: You’re next. 


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. 


De’Ara Balenger: You’re next. She said he–


Kaya Henderson: Your mama is hilarious. 


De’Ara Balenger: –she said he turned around. My cousins had, like, deer in headlights. They had to my cousin’s like, we had to get your mom out of there because she’s about to really go off. There’s a killer in here so. 


Myles E. Johnson: That is that is a great story. 


Kaya Henderson: Worth the price of admission. 


Myles E. Johnson: Listen, I’m like, I’m like, our producer is going to have a a field day, with with what to name this because that might be a good one, too. There’s a killer in here. [laughter] For this ep– That is a good. That is a good OJ story. Yeah. You need to a you she need to go speak at the funeral. [laughter] Or you need to tell that story at the funeral. [laughter] 


De’Ara Balenger: I just was like what is what is Lord so. 


Myles E. Johnson: Goodness.


DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Well that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning in to Pod Save the People this week. Don’t forget to follow us at @CrookedMedia on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. And if you enjoyed this episode of Pod Save the People, consider dropping us a review on your favorite podcast app and we’ll see you next week. Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media, it’s produced by AJ Moultrié and mixed by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Executive produced by me and special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger, and Myles E. Johnson.